I started The Dreaming Panda when I was at my absolute worst—I couldn’t walk, I’d lost thirteen pounds, I could barely stay awake, and I was morbidly depressed. This means it’s been two years since that first trip to the ER when everything got so bad and precipitated a resolution to eight years of misdiagnoses. So I’m now two years into my recovery journey.
It’s 8 AM on a Saturday, and rather than sleeping in as you might expect for a college student, I’m lacing up my running shoes and getting ready to bolt across town.
However, this weekend, when I opened my blinds, I almost pulled the covers back over me; I saw it was raining with no sign of stopping.
I’d never run in the rain before, and the mere idea of it caused the shivers. I had so much homework, and the only time I had to spare was in the morning. But I love running so much. How could I let a little bad weather keep me from it?
Recently, I’ve taken up trail biking, and strangely, there are a lot of parallels between becoming a trail biker and overcoming OCD…
Ever since last summer, I’ve been apprehensive about getting on a bike, considering that my legs used to give out on me frequently when I walked. If one of these attacks happened as I rode a bike at 20 mph down a road, I could get seriously hurt.
But this week, I got back on my bike anyway and rolled into the woods, following a friend of mine who’s an avid trail biker.
There are some moments in life that you can never forget—moments when your whole world is turned upside, for better or worse. Living with PANS, a disease that sets in overnight and flares up in the same way, I’ve had more than my fair share of those life-changing moments.
However, another such moment (albeit a more positive one) happened on Saturday when I finished my first half-marathon: 13.1 slow, arduous miles.
Last summer, over the course of a few hours, I suddenly became unable to walk due to an autoimmune attack in my brain. If I tried to go from my living room to the kitchen, I fell multiple times because my legs would suddenly give out.
In one moment of insight during that horrendous time when I had not only lost the ability to walk but had essentially lost my mind, I said to myself, I’m going to run a marathon someday and overcome this. And I’m going to beat my best 5k time from eight years ago within the next year.
It was truly a crazy idea. Maybe I still wasn’t in my right mind when I came up with that…
Managing my medications is a big production. If I didn’t have a pill case, there’s no way I could possibly remember to take all eleven things each day. Every week, I sit down and fill the case for the week. It takes half-an-hour. It used to take longer when my OCD was worse and I had to check and re-check everything a ridiculous number of times. I only check it once now.
Suddenly losing the ability to walk at nineteen years old is terrifying and heartbreaking. I never thought it would happen to me, but this summer, it did. In a matter of twenty-four hours, I became unable to walk across a room without falling down multiple times.